Large Animal Research & Imaging Facility Node

Node Director:

  • Dr Tim Kuchel


Facility Fellows:

  • Dr Marianne Keller
  • Mr Raj Perumal


Operational participants:


Scope and function:

  • The Large Animal Research and Imaging Facility (LARIF) is part of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) at the Preclinical Imaging and Research Laboratories (PIRL) located at Gilles Plains. LARIF provides cutting edge research services by utilising the latest developments in magnetic resonance (MR), computer tomography (CT) and other imaging modalities for research using large animal models of human disease research.


  • The LARIF has a Skyra 3T MR scanner and two NIF Facilty Fellows funded by CRIS and NCRIS.


  • The scanner constituted the first stage in the development of a suite of equipment and has been complemented by a 16 slice Phillips CT, a fully operational Phillips flat detector C-ARM and MR compatible physiological monitoring. LARIF contributes 100% of time on their fan beam GE-healthcare Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) to NIF, as well as the digital x-ray equipment.


  • LARIF will endeavour to harness future technological MRI developments from the University of Queensland Node and, PET technologies from the University of Sydney node and through the development of applications to animal imaging conducted by other nodes within the NIF network, and make them available to the wider Australian research community.


  • Fully operational and staffed operating theatres and experimental suites are available to all LARIF users, as is a comprehensive radiographer/imaging scientist service to run the imaging equipment and provide advice on optimising protocols and post processing. All DICOM files from imaging equipment are uploaded to PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) and can be downloaded remotely via a password access system.


  • Access to animal surgical suites and support operations, animal accommodation and office accommodation for external researchers as required is also provided. In addition, off-site researchers will have access to a large range of animal models of human disease. The imaging modalities, surgical suites and supporting services are linked to a large animal holding facility. We can also provide experimental rooms, a tissue collection facility plus a cold room, animal holding rooms for groups housing or individual pens, and rooms to hold sheep in expandable metabolism crates. Many current neurodegenerative disease and neurotrauma models use sheep. Sheep have gyrenencephalic brains, which are similar to humans in structure and size and therefore are a stepping stone in neurological and pharmacological research between the lissencephalic brain of rodents and the human brain.